No Matter What

My first year of recovery was an amazing ride. For the first time in 25 years, I felt absolutely no urge to drink whatsoever. 

At that point in my life, it was an unfathomable achievement. I went from depressed, self-loathing and downright hopeless, to a motivated, inspired and spiritually fit version of myself. I couldn't explain the change then and I can't explain it now. The gratitude was oozing out of me like drool from the muzzle of a Bernese Mountain Dog.

My sponsor at the time kept telling me, “You’re seeing things with a new pair of glasses kid." 

You know you have a solid sponsor when he can sling metaphors at you with the velocity and accuracy of a Randy Johnson splitter.  My own personal paradigm was shifting, and I was happy to grab me a new set of tortoiseshell frames and run with it.

Some people refer to this type of feeling as riding a pink cloud. I'm not exactly sure what a pink cloud is but I'm thinking it has something to do with either cotton candy or some sort of obscure Dr. Seuss reference. Either way, for some reason it tracks. 

When I finally hit the one-year mark in my recovery, things changed. I learned very quickly that just because you put down the drink or the drug, life still happens and guess what? It doesn't give a turtle's turd about the one-year chip you carry around in your pocket.

My brand-new bifocals hit the pavement and out of nowhere, a rogue bike messenger shattered them to pieces like a hydraulic press crushing a Subaru. 

Suddenly the buyer’s remorse crept in, and it left me wondering.

How the hell am I going to not drink forever? What about hockey games with the boys? How will I fulfill my duties as toastmaster at my daughter's wedding and not sip that flute of Veuve Clicquot? 


I went from Let Go, Let God to God damn son-of-a bitch.

It's tough to live your life one day at a time when you can't stop projecting into the year 2070. Yes, that would make my daughter 68 years young. An optimal age for any daughter to tie the knot. YKIYK.

For a straight year I had been so caught up in receiving accolades from my peers, picking up coins and going to 12-step meetings, that I had not had the time to stop and think about what happens next.

I started to think that the pink cloud I had been riding so effortlessly, was slowly metamorphosing back into that black cloud I thought I had left behind.

Then something happened. I heard something that to this day might be the most profound words I have ever heard. 

I was at a 12-step meeting and about halfway through, a woman walked in, sat down and immediately raised her hand. In a soft spoken voice, she simply said... 

"My husband died last night and I'm not going to drink today."

Wait. Come again?

Those words woke me up like the world's loudest alarm clock. I'm not talking about some dinky chime from your iPhone. I'm talking about the Dream Machine circa 1983. The beige one with the red digital numbers and the am radio. The one that sounds like that fire alarm in an office building that makes you put your fingers in your ears.

Hearing something that powerful was more than just words. 

I felt it.

It changed me. Like Dr. Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk, I truly believe that what she said literally altered my DNA. 

Just like that, another paradigm shift but this time it was way different. There is no self-help book or Tony Robbins weekend retreat that could have had more of an impact on me than hearing that woman share. 


That's what I heard. No matter what.

All of a sudden, the what ifs and the but but buts became no matter what. No matter what happens. No matter what occasion. No matter how fucked up it gets.

I will not drink. No matter what. That's where I am today. More than 5,000 days later, her words still live in my head rent free.

No matter what.


Popular posts from this blog

Definition Of A Hug

My Sobriety Is Like David Blaine

Cry Baby, Cry